Part 1 of our 3 part State of Origin series
I don’t see any way that NSW can win tonight. Queensland are stronger, faster and smarter than this squad that Ricky Stuart has put together. So as a New South Wales fan why would you subject yourself to watching the game tonight? Well besides the fact its Origin there are few little things I’ll be looking out for and maybe you should to. They include:
Much to the dismay of The Editor April is my favourite sporting month. NHL is in Stanley Cup mode, NBA is gearing towards playoff time, Champions league is nearing the finals stage and NRL is starting to get whiff of State of Origin about it. This all means there is less time for me to be a good boyfriend and more time spent watching my Foxtel IQ. It’s terrible to be a partner at this time especially when your significant other is obsessed with sports like I am…the only problem with April in 2012 is that the NBA and NHL have been so captivating – the NRL is very boring in comparison. Which brings us to the point of this article and the reason I haven’t written anything at all since the start of this month.
Having to watch the Dally M’s could be used in some countries as capital punishment. It’s boring, slow and hosted by the most inanimate commentators in the world in Brandy Alexander, Laurie Daley and Warren Smith. I’ve been to junior football presentations that were more exciting and even if they weren’t you still got a free half hour session on the water slides at Botany Big Splash. All the Dally M’s offer you in return for your support is some terrible anticipation waiting for the results and a poorly timed shower of gold stars when the Medal winner is announced, WOW!
Normally during this time of the year you start to notice players who weren’t in the ‘whose hot this year’ articles at the start of the season. I’d like to recognise these players with something I’ve named ‘The Gibson Roster”. No, this isn’t a list generated by the super computer in the movie ‘Hackers’ it’s actually a tribute to the late great Jack Gibson.
Quick history lesson – now before Wayne Bennett was known as the Supercoach, the original Supercoach was Jack Gibson. Unfortunately for everyone in Rugby League he passed away in 2008. He was responsible for the golden age of Parramatta football including three premierships and one of the best run-on squads the Eels would have in Brett Kenny, Mick Cronin, Peter Sterling, Eric Grothe Snr (I have to say SNR because unfortunately people might think I’m talking about the dead weight Parra had playing for them a couple of years ago) and Steve Ella. If those names are as common to you as ‘Neville Charlton’ then find yourself a Parramatta fan and ask him about the 1982 finals run.
Gibson was the original Supercoach and the idea behind the Gibson Roster is a list of players who I think Gibson would have loved to have in his starting 13.
Jack Bosden – St George Illawarra Dragons – 4 NRL Games Played
I watched Bosden play in the Charity Shield match at the start of the year and something about him sparked interest for me. At first I couldn’t explain why a kid of his size (just under 100kgs) was playing in the second row position then I saw him wrestle his way through 3 defenders to score under the goal posts. That’s when I realised that he was pure strength.
If Ben Creagh and Paul Gallen were to have a baby then Bosden is what the outcome would be. Mean as hell and ugly just the same. Take Creagh’s ability and football brain and mash it with Gallen’s skill for swallowing small children and 9 months later you have a baby Jack Bosden.
Given he is only 21 you can only imagine where good coaching and the right environment could take him. Unfortunately for me it’s taking him to the Eastern Suburbs. The Roosters snagged him for next season to fill the shoes of the departing Nate Myles. I couldn’t agree more with the substitution of Myles for Bosden but I just hope the Roosters can get out of this funk they are in and groom him into the Origin player he is born to be.
Mitch Allgood – Parramatta Eels – 15 NRL Games Played
The fact that things AREN’T currently ‘Allgood’ at Parramatta is no reason for players to be absent from the Gibson Roster. Mitch Allgood is definitely a shining light in a somewhat dim Parramatta arena for 2011. He is currently averaging a 10/22 (hit ups/tackles) for 15 games and considering he is only playing about 35 minutes of football per game you can envision where he is headed.
He comes off like a sequel to the epic tale of ‘Nathan Hindmarsh – a battle drawn warrior” with his consistency. All he needs to do is grow his hair and turn up the good guy attitude. This is my long way of saying that I think Allgood is Hindmarsh 2.0 but you’ll have to give it 4-5 years.
Not only that but his name fits in perfectly in the ‘Editors Delight’ section of my All In The Namearticle I did a few months ago.
Nathan Peats – South Sydney Rabbitohs – 12 NRL Games Played
The only thing ‘devastating’ about the Rabbits forward pack this year was the injuries they took on. With Burgess, Stuart, Asotasi, Lowe and Geddes all out for the season it meant South’s had to put up the Bat signal in the sky. Nathan Peats seems to be only the real Batman left at Redfern.
(Quick analogy…if Luke Stuart is Adam West then Roy Asotasi is Michael Keating with Ben Lowe as Val Kilmer and Sam Burgess is George Clooney making Nathan Peats our Christian Bale.)
The La Perouse junior has a shattering way of being involved in nearly every tackle he possibly can. When John Lang (Alfred the Butler) finally unleashes Peats onto the field he will normally find his way into 3 or 4 of the 6 tackles the opponents have. He currently averages 20 tackles per game but he is only playing on average 30 minutes per game. That’s 50 minutes of time he could be out stopping bad guys.
Peats is perfect for the 13 jersey at South Sydney but he needs to get in line behind Crocker, Lowe, Jason Clark and (if only) John Sutton. Lucky for the Rabbitohs fans he re-signed with South’s so essentially you are looking at the future of South Sydney. Holy Throwing Telephones Batman!
Dane Gagai – Brisbane Broncos – 6 NRL Games Played
Pronounced ‘Gay Guy’ and yes he would definitely make an appearance in the section of ‘Innuendo Intended’ for my All In The Name article. Fortunately for Brisbane the only thing he is gay about is playing good football. Here is why he and the Broncos fans are so happy:
- 4 tries in 6 games.
- 3 line breaks in 6 games.
- Youthful with speed to burn
The media are talking up the Karmichael comparisons but the big difference I see is that Gagai actually looks excited about playing football. Unlike Hunt whose excitement could only be compared to a night out in Canberra with a Carbon Tax expert.
On that topic, what’s up with Brisbane and their ability to product quality backs? Maybe it’s something in the water or just the mainstream coverage Rugby League gets up there (a small voice in my head just said ‘yeah maybe it’s the fact that they have a whole state to choose from’). Whatever it is, it seems like whenever they lose a good player, to injury or transfer they just grab the next version of that player and pop him in there (the only exception to that is Steve Michaels).
Chad Townsend – Cronulla Sharks – 5 NRL Games Played
Tim Smith, Albert Kelly, and Brett Seymour – no I’m not naming Cronulla players who belong in my Defence Rests article, these are potential halfbacks that Cronulla had and are no longer playing first grade. It’s lucky a player like Chad Townsend is on the back burner.
Do you think its coincidence that he started playing halfback for the Sharks in Round 13 right around the time they started their 4 game winning streak? I don’t think so. Here are a few factors that made a difference:
- Wade Graham had somebody to run off
- Paul Gallen swallowed Superman and he is feeding off the alien energy
- Townsend took over goal kicking duties and left room for Graham to just score tries
- John Morris isn’t playing halfback – HUGE FACTOR!Side note – Anytime Morris has to make a decision in the game there’s a 98% chance it’s the wrong one. His decision making skills are comparable to the following all time bone head decisions:
- “Let’s make Joey Johns a commentator”
- “Mario Fenech is perfect for national TV”
- “My starting line-up for the first South Sydney finals appearance in 20 years will include Shannon Hegarty”
- “Man I could smash a kebab right now”
Three of those four factors have to do with Chad Townsend. In a league that is STRUGGLING to find halfbacks we are looking at a perfect example of one.
Say what you want about the quality of ‘people’ in the Shire but they definitely know how to breed a footballer. He has a football brain and with Graham outside him he doesn’t need to make all the choices. The only bad news, as far as a team playing the Sharks are concerned is that he takes at least 3 minutes to kick a goal. It doesn’t matter where he is kicking from. It comes off like a blatant attempt to waste time but he really does take that long. Normally I would say something about that not mattering because Cronulla don’t score many points but that hasn’t been the case in past few weeks.
There is the Gibson Roster for 2011. I guess the beauty of it is that these players still have a long way to go but I believe in the next 2-3 years we are talking about them in a different format, maybe in an Origin type situation. If that happens I will enjoy all the glory of saying ‘I told you so’ and I can use this article as proof of my genius ‘On The Try Line’.
Before I take off I wanted to remind you that our Facebook page is up and running. I’d love to have you visit it and hit the ‘Like’ button especially if you are a regular visitor ‘On The Try Line’. This way you can get up to date info about new articles, changes to the site and the potential to star in the Tipping and Dream Team competitions we are arranging for next season. Thanks in advance for your support.